Trout and snapper while Bonita Beach Fishing (April 14)
Fishbuster Charter: Captain Dave Hanson reported, Winds persisted for a couple days, and seas remained too rough offshore for my Monday Bonita Beach Fishing trip with Remi McKinnon, his two young sons, Mark and Luke, and the boys’ grandfather, Ian. So I advised the family to fish the backwaters of lower Hickory Bay, where they used live shrimp to catch an 18 ¼ -inch trout and an 11 ½-inch mangrove snapper. They released a 40-inch bonnethead shark and a ten-pound stingray.
Photo: Angler Bill Conklin with a 27-inch gag grouper, caught and released 23 miles west of New Passfishbustercharters.com
Mike Beverstock along with family and friends, Frank, Bridget and Liz, managed a near-shore trip with me, as seas began to subside on Tuesday, 4/19. Fishing at the reefs just a few miles off Bonita beach with live shrimp, the group caught and released a 22 ½-inch gag grouper, along with lots of mangrove snapper shorts and grunts. They also caught three nice sheepshead to 17 inches, a 16-inch Spanish mackerel, and a 15-inch flounder.
Jennifer and Shawn Bull, along with teen-aged son, Jared, and Jared’s friends Mark and John Polymeros, had hoped to get well offshore on Wednesday, 4/20, but seas were not real cooperative, and we had to stay within 12 miles of shore. Dolphins invaded one of the best spots, which ruined our chances of catching fish there, so we went to several other close-in spots to fish with live shrimp. As for food-fish, the group ended up catching 13 grunts and two keeper lane snapper. They released numerous red grouper shorts.
Seas weren’t much calmer Thursday morning, 4/21, though they did calm down some as the day progressed. Frequent customer, Ron Musick, has only a couple more opportunities to get out fishing this season, and it was worth braving some sloppy conditions to him to ride out 25 miles and go after grouper. Ron brought his friends, Eddie Alfonso, Dick Arnett, and Dick’s brother-in-law, Jim Mix. Each of the four guys ended up with their own keeper red grouper, all measuring between 21 and 22 inches and biting on pinfish. They added four nice porgies they caught on shrimp to the fish box.
Friday morning, 4/22, NOAA got it wrong again, with predictions for two-foot seas out to 20 miles. I headed out with Casey Miller and friends, and seas were a lot rougher than predicted, with a steady wind blowing across the gulf. We fished the near-shore reefs off Bonita Beach, using live shrimp. The group caught three sheepshead to 14 inches, and released four gag grouper to 20 inches, along with some grunts. They had a few snappers on the line too, but the barracuda got to those before they could be boated.